Lambing began mid-March at Overbury, with a few early arrivals followed by the remainder of the crop making appearances day and night for 6 weeks. This year’s dream team worked in the sunshine and rain as the weather decided to be a little unsettled. We managed to get a shot of everyone in the sunshine and smiling before the rain arrived! This year’s team ranged from a work experience student, Hartpury College & Harper Adams University students and a Vet University student. Unfortunately our night lamber is not in this picture for obvious reasons!
We bring all our pregnant ewes into our large sheds and split them into groups of how many lambs they are expecting (triplets, twins and singles). They are then grouped in condition so any mums-to-be who need a little more food are kept together and given a little bit extra so they are in tip top condition to look after their lambs.
We monitor all the ewes and try and leave them to lamb alone as their natural instinct is to nurture their lambs by licking them clean and nudging them to their feet so that they suckle on the all-important colostrum (the ewe’s first milk).
But sometimes we have to step in……..
This little lamb decided to try and arrive with its head facing backwards instead of nose and front feet first. Lydia our Veterinary student had lovely small hands and was able to assist with the support of the two George’s who are both studying Agriculture.
Once up on their feet, the new arrivals and mother are put in a small pen so that we can monitor both ewe and lamb, checking that the lamb is feeding well and the ewe has recovered well from the birth.
Here is our famous ewe Ying Yang born in 2012
And here she is now with her lamb snuggled up next to her.
After 24 hours, the family are moved outside into ‘hardening off’ pens which is a small, sheltered outdoor space where the lambs can adjust to the outside world.
We keep an eye on them again for 24 hours to make sure they are all feeding well and ready to go out to the grass fields to frolic in the sunshine and dance in the rain.
For the coming months, Reg checks the fields every day to make sure all the lambs are feeding well, not only from them mothers, but they also eat grass. Reg checks the ewes are in good health and if they need extra food he feeds them ‘cake’ which is fed through a machine attached to the back of his buggy.
As you can see they are always pleased to see him!
It’s not so bad feeling a bit tired after a busy 3 months when you get to see views like this.
Next on the calendar is the shearing of our replacement ewe lambs. Watch this space for more updates on our Overbury flock.